Politics

Donald Trump Faces New Questions About His Treatment of Women

September 30th 2016

By:
Kyle Jaeger

New evidence of Donald Trump's troubling history of misogyny was uncovered in a Los Angeles Times story by Matt Pearce on Thursday. The investigation revealed allegations of sexual discrimination at the Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, where Trump's penchant for attractive, young women reportedly caused some employees to quit or be fired.

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Lawsuits against Trump's golf club, dating back to 2008, alleged that Trump encouraged managers to "fire and replace" restaurant hostesses who didn't meet his beauty standard. He apparently gave the directive so many times that club management eventually adopted a policy of scheduling its most attractive employees when Trump was visiting, according to testimony from former staff.

A lawyer for the Trump Organization told the Times that the allegations were "meritless."

Former hostess Lucy Messerschmidt claimed in a 2008 court filing that a club manager, Brian Wolbers, attempted to remove her from the work schedule "for several days" while Trump was visiting. The manager allegedly told Messerschmidt that "he was doing this because Mr. Trump ‘likes to see fresh faces' and ‘young girls.'" The employee complained about the situation to two other managers and was begrudgingly allowed to keep her shifts. But not before Walberts yelled at her for "opening your mouth."

The Times reported:

"The employees' declarations in support of the lawsuit, which have not been reported in detail until now, show the extent to which they believed Trump, now the Republican presidential nominee, pressured subordinates at one of his businesses to create and enforce a culture of beauty, where female employees' appearances were prized over their skills."

Sexism and ageism weren't the only allegations made by former Trump National Golf Club employees.

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Prior to the class-action lawsuit, some workers said that management discouraged employees from taking legally required 30-minute lunch breaks and even bathroom breaks. One employee said in a declaration that his manager "insisted that because this was Trump's golf course, it had to be top-notch" and was "concerned that if Trump observed employees eating or resting, Trump would not be pleased."

The company disputed the claims and submitted about a dozen additional declarations that contradicted the allegations, but former employees told the Times that the policy only changed after the lawsuit was filed.

The club also allegedly prioritized employees who were considered more attractive over those with more experience, the Times reported. A food server at the club, Gail Doner, expressed frustration over the company's tendency to give the "best shifts" to "hostesses that were the youngest and the prettiest," for example.

How this report fits into the 2016 election.

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The details uncovered in the Times report add to the extensive body of research that's been conducted on Trump's business practices and, in particular, his treatment of women. Trump's well-documented intolerance of women he deems physically unfit to represent his businesses has raised questions about claims he's made on the campaign trail over the last year, including his declaration that he'd be a superior advocate for women than his opponent, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

[h/t The Los Angeles Times]

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